Kickstart creativity

By HermineBloom

Every day, 24-year-old Dannielle Owens-Reid was greeted with 500 antique salt and pepper shakers, ranging from a pair of sad puppies to a pair of cucumbers, nestled together on shelves and peeking out from behind cupboards. However, as soon as Owens-Reid set her sights on moving to New York City to pursue her film career, the same kitschy, retro shakers appeared dustier and in need of new homes.

Owens-Reid’s mission became selling an estimated 500-700 vintage salt and pepper shakers, which was a cause she felt personally connected to; she inherited the collection at age 11 from her great-grandmother. In order to sell the shakers, she signed up for a few months ago—the all-or-nothing social fundraising Web platform based in Brooklyn—where creative endeavors are funded by real people who believe in a particular project.

“I’m glad I inherited them and I’m not ungrateful,” Owens-Reid said. “But I just have so many. Unless I wanted to put shelves literally lining my walls, there’s just nothing I could do besides try to share the love.”

Independent, often times quirky projects such as Owens-Reid’s are ideal when it comes to Kickstarter, which is neither designed as an investment nor a charity, for that matter. The start-up asks artists, activists and everyone in between to set a goal of a specific amount of money they’d like to raise for their cause or project, which is when fans and friends alike can donate any amount of money. The funds won’t be used unless the goal is met. Compensation in the form of rewards is given to those who donate based on the individual.

As of March 31, Owens-Reid raised $2,772 for her Shaker Love project linked to her Shaker Love Tumblr site, which wasn’t enough to fund the whole project because she set her goal at $5,000 with an end date of April 1.

In no way is Owens-Reid disappointed, however, because people everywhere have become fans of the project.

“I’ve had this opportunity to reach a bunch of people that I would have never been able to reach,” she said. “I still have contact with them and I can still send out a message that’s like, ‘Hey, we didn’t reach the goal, but if you still want to buy a shaker that’s great and we’ll set up PayPal or something.”

Similarly, comic artist Kody Chamberlain, 37, had great success with Kickstarter in an effort to raise money to market his new comic.

A mere two days after designing his Kickstarter account, he received 80 percent of his pledged funding, which he attributes to his preexisting fan base, social networking and getting a featured spot on Kickstarter’s recommended page.

Though Chamberlain has a publisher for the five issue mini-series he’s writing and drawing called “Sweets,” this is the first project he owns himself. The money he’s raising through Kickstarter will go toward marketing funds such as creating press kits, posters and booking trade shows.

“They see something in the project that they’d like to come to life,” Chamberlain said of Kickstarter. “I don’t necessarily think it’s any sort of celebrity. They look at the concept and the artwork. I think that’s what they’re responding to.”

Not only is Kickstarter a way to gauge the success of a creative project, it also teaches artists financial responsibility. Such is the case with California-based band Hi Ho Silver Oh, who used Kickstarter to fund their 10-day tour.

“We had a $1,600 goal, which was just to cover basic expenses,” said Phil Eastman, a member of the band. “It would be great to go on our first tour and not go into the red because that’s such a cliché of bands who put it on a credit card or just paying with money you didn’t have.”

Ultimately, they raised $1,695.10 from 45 backers, which was 106 percent of the $1,600 that they pledged.

“Not that we expected people to give us money, but we knew that we made it an event and helped people to get involved that people would support us,” Eastman said. “People have come out of the woodwork—people I haven’t talked to since high school donated just because they saw a link on Facebook.”

For more information about Owens-Reid’s collection ,visit To learn more about Kody Chamberlain’s work, visit, Visit to listen to Hi Ho Silver Oh.